Sunday, March 15th, 2009


I competed the third hard day walking across the frozen lagoons, bays and rivers of the Arctic Ocean.

My guide, Curt Lemen of Barrow, has a specially equipped truck for enduring the bumps, crevices, and snow drifts which block the slippery ice bound surface.

After 5.5 hours I have now walked a total of 42.6 miles while fighting high winds, surviving three falls and keeping a frightened eye out for hungry Polar Bears and wolves.

Surprisingly with my Alaska parka, insulated pants, lined boots, thermal under ware, two wool hooded shirts and ski goggles I was never really cold.

Today it took 5 hours to drive to the only lodging back at Barrow. At that point my guide now with a damaged vehicle and concerned for our safety and a possible approaching blizzard, asked to quit. All things considered I reluctantly agreed.

Fascinating People

As always the people of Alaska were as intriguing as the magnificent landscape. The grandfather of my guide’s wife was born in New York. His whaling ship got stuck in the ice; her granddad then struggled to shore, married a beautiful Eskimo girl, made a lot of money, and never returned to the Big Apple.

On Sunday an Eskimo named Billy joined us. “My granddad was fishing when the plane carrying the famous Americans Will Rodgers and Wally Post’s plane crashed in the ocean”, he said. “Granddad ran 13 miles back to Barrow to get help. Later they named the fire house after him.”

Still on the move

Even though my mileage was small it all counts toward my attempt to become the first, crazy, person to walk from Point Barrow to the southernmost point in the U.S. at Key West, Florida. Step by step over the last three years I have now walked1,335 miles along the route. There are only 4, 588 miles to go! With warmest [?] regards

{Note to reader: This stage actually took place in March 2009. I adjusted the year on the blog inorder to provide a cohesive north to south story]


Saturday, March 14th, 2009


Ukpiaqvik is the Inupiaq language name for Point Barrow. It means “place to hunt snowy owls”

The temperature is again -30 below zero with wind chills at 50 below. It is cold!

The terrain I am on is the frozen Elson Lagoon which runs adjacent to the Arctic Ocean. The surface is ice with ripples of frozen snow forming miniature hills and valleys.

As you walk you bounce up and down occasionally breaking through an inch the ice and then pulling your boot out of the newly formed depression.

The repeated dips in the surface and the cracking ice strain my shins. Lifting the heavy boos out of crack confound the dilemma. I also notice fissures in the ice. They are only a few inches wide but I am cautions not to trip on them. Then suddenly just as I am congratulating myself, I slip fly through the air and land on my butt. Wearily, I get up and trudge on.

This is Arctic Ocean race walking at its finest.

I am aware that my walking is slow. The heavy clothing prevents me from getting fluid arm movement and I look like a stiff robot, or walking corpse, as I slide along the ice. The clothing gives me warmth but every forty minutes I stop at the truck for hot tea laced with sugar. It is warming and a psychological lift.

Once as my shins swell. I stop and sit in the truck for ten minutes. After consuming tow bananas I am on my way again.

Today another 14+ miles has been walked.

Our trail has now been filled in with blowing soft snow. We bounce and fly into the top of the truck cab as we struggle to return for the night in Barrow. It takes 3.5 hours to travel 28 miles. Along the way the special tuck suddenly skips through the air, lands, and breaks a shock absorber. We worry about shattering an axel and having to call for a helicopter rescue. That is, if the radio will transmit that far.

Tomorrow our radio will not be strong enough to reach rescue. We decide to continue on none the less.


Friday, March 13th, 2009

Bad luck on Friday the 13th

Bad luck on Friday the 13th
I am out of bed at 5 AM organizing my multi layers of clothes, taking preventive action to prevent foot problems and preparing for a long days walk. My guide calls saying he is sick. The week prior to my arrival he had driven all the way to Anchorage 800 miles away. Along the route from Barrow to Prudhoe Bay he prepared a waking route for me to follow. Along the way a blizzard struck and my guide was stranded inside of his truck for three days.

No wonder he was sick!

I spent a lost day resting in Barrow


Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Barren ice, wind, snow and very, very cold.

Point Barrow, Alaska [72?N 156?W]

What does it feel like to wobble along a snow filled, wind whipped ocean when the temperature is -50 degrees?

Not very nice, is my answer.

I stepped out of my support vehicle at 8:20 AM. It was still dark. Off I went dodging snow drifts while struggling against a strong wind to keep my parka hood on my head. The blowing snow caked on my goggles. As I couldn’t see far I watched my feet hoping they would lead me in a straight line.

As we moved farther away from Barrow I was glad to have a guide. For a while at least he was in radio contact with the Barrow Rescue team just in case trouble developed. The gas in the guide’s truck was, however, unexpectedly near empty. As my eyes watered and face cover became encased in ice, I wondered how this mistake could have occurred.

A few hours later the romantic silence of this immense waste land was interrupted by the roar of a snow machine. It appeared out of nowhere and somehow located us in the middle of a sea of whiteness. The operator, Tad, was a friend and hunting buddy of my guide who had responded to a radio message asking for emergency gasoline. “Lucky I found you”, he said. “The wind is blowing away your tracks.”

I knew we were headed east so as my guide attended to the refueling I kept walking alone heading directly toward the rising sun. Big mistake!

Being so far north on the earth to sun moves very rapidly circling in the same pattern for millions of years. As a result I tracked it farther and farther from my true route.

My guide had kept a close watch on me. When he found me he explained my error. Embarrassed I redirected myself in the right direction.

Merrily, now sweating profusely with all of my heavy clothing, I ever moved forward until I slipped on a large chunk of ice smashing my face into the surface of the frozen ancient ocean.

Having walked 14 miles in 5.5 hours I licked my wounds and headed back to Point Barrow for the night.


Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Mexican Restaurant

After another day of cold walking I am hungry. Sadly, I did not bring sufficient day food during the day. Finally, if you can believe it, I enter a Mexican Restaurant. The sign says “The Most Northern Mexican Restaurant in the World”. Well, maybe!


Tuesday, March 10th, 2009


It is a wonderful little village, Point Barrow. Snow covers the wood frame homes. I am dressed warmly and head off walking into the bliss ready to meet my guide in a few days.